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Keymonus

[OL-FB] Ghostly voices

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912 posts

Posted (edited)

The Labyrinth, El Oleonda, May 624

The jungle was loud and suffocating as usual. The inextricable mass of bushes, the uniform sticking to the skin, the mosquitoes, the urticating herbs... for a Madrician recruit, that place represented a real nightmare. Tristan and his unit were not newcomers, but they would have gladly avoided that umpteenth vacation in that green hell.

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Once again, they were following a trail. This time, not the elusive trail of the Lotii troops, but the track of a mysterious column departed from Seawatch and headed South: the Carnites had left the settlement in forces, with at least a full company of jaegers and several heavy carriages. They had provided no notice or explanation to their allies, claiming they had started a reconnaissance, and refusing to elaborate more. Due to this weirdness, Tristan's unit was sent to investigate, possibly without being discovered: also for them, the official mission was scouting the Lotii positions.

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The slow chase went on, day after day. Tristan and his Eranos chasseurs had to follow the slow pace of the carriages: once again, a peculiar choice for a swift recognition mission. Soon, it became evident that the Carnite column was headed to the Labyrinth, an impressive complex of ruins covering several square kilometers of the jungle. In that place, Tristan had fought countless skirmishes against Lotii patrols, but he had only seen a fraction of it: the abandoned city must have once been at least as large as Breshaun or Mesabi Landing, decades or centuries before. 

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This represented a peculiar choice at best, and utter insanity at worst: the Carnite unit, with its heavy carriages, would have spent weeks traversing the rough terrain of the Labyrinth, a maze of ruined buildings, canals, low walls, and piles of rocks. Choosing a different trail, or even bordering the ruins, would have taken half of the time!
Whatever the objective of the Carnites could be, therefore, following them seemed a complete waste of time. After leaving some scouts to tail the column, Tristan decided to anticipate it in the ruined city, proceeding further south with his light infantry... and there he was, in the middle of the dead city.

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Among those ruins, the air seemed heavy, even compared to the humidity of the tropical jungle. Still, and unusually silent.
Then, suddenly, the voices started:
"Lauf, Konrad, lauf!"
"Kra, kra, Konrad!"
"Kra, lauf, lauf, kraaaah!"
"Krahaha, lauf Konrad!"

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Tristan grabbed his pistol and took cover against the wall, then he realized. The parrots were imitating a human voice, laughing and squawking... a Carnite voice, inviting a certain Konrad to "lauf", to run. Not very encouraging. That dead city was already eerie enough, even without some colorful chicken repeating ghostly voices!
Other birds, amused by the chorus, decided to join. Several birds of the New World, including the parrots of El Oleonda, seemed to have fun imitating sounds they had heard around, mixing and mangling them: songs of other birds, animal calls and, in some cases, even human voices.

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In the cacophony of calls, laughter-like sounds, and flutters, Tristan believed to recognize a couple of other words: "Trommeln", drums; and "Chiffre", which could mean number, code, or cipher. "Run, Konrad", "drums" and "cipher"... a strange combination for sure. Something weird had happened, probably not far from there. Something weird and probably terrible.
At least two men, speaking the language of Carno, were among these ruins... not long time before, considering that the birds had not mingled the words before recognition. Something had given them a good reason to run... the natives, considering the reference to the drums? And what was the Chiffre, for Poseidon's sake? Why was it so important for them?

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A sudden rustle in the undergrowth stopped Tristan's thoughts and scared the parrots, that started flying in every direction. Right beyond a ruined arch, something was moving in the bushes. The soldiers raised their guns, preparing for the fight...

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...until they saw a wild pig! Grunting, the animal disappeared again among the ruins, clearly annoyed by the visitors.

”Uff, just a pig!” Said one of the scouts. “These damned birds are getting on my nerves!”

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The parrots seemed to like the word:

Kraaa, porc, porc! Krahaha, lauf Konrad!”

”Kraaaah, chiffre, chiffre!”

”Kraahahah, porc, chiffre, konrad!”

Well, thought Tristan, the next visitors of the Labyrinth would have been even more confused than him…

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Overall view:

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Note: I thought this build as a generic recognition in the jungle, showing better the ruined city of El Oleonda I introduced a long time ago. Due to its size, it cannot qualify as an entry for the challenge itself, but rather represents a sort of prelude for it. Stay tuned to discover what the mysterious "cipher" is!

Edited by Keymonus

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731 posts

Looks great! Digging the enclosed space of it. The birds are a nice narrative touch. Most ominous.

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1703 posts

I like the adventures of Tristan and his Eranos chasseurs! It's told in an exciting way and has great close-up photos. The ruin, which is overgrown with plants, is built in great detail.

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3921 posts

Another fine addition to Tristan's storyline. A lot of unique pictures from a rather "simple" MOC. I like the addition of the myriad of tropical birds and also how they fit in the story. Like Jeff said: cool narrative touch to make it extra spooky.

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1594 posts

You got me really hooked in this particular story! I love this kind of mysterious unfolding story, slowly coming about. Please hurry with the next part :pir_tong2:

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912 posts

Thank you guys! Having such a “dense” build was a problem for my usual closeups, but I’m very happy for the final result!

I think I exaggerated a little bit in the amount of plants… the ruins are more realistic in this way, but I ended up covering several details!

However, I’m very happy about the final result… consider it a sort of prelude for my Transition Challenge storyline!

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912 posts

On 6/11/2024 at 8:07 AM, Captain Braunsfeld said:

Fine story, fine builds. "Colourful chicken" :pir-laugh:

Thanks! :pir_laugh2:

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